Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mexican drug smugglers tied to California fire

Wildfire investigators in California are looking for marijuana growers tied to a Mexican drug cartel whom they suspect ignited a blaze that has charred more than 87,000 acres of a national forest.

The La Brea Fire, which erupted August 8 in the Los Padres National Forest in the remote Santa Barbara County mountains northwest of Los Angeles, is believed to be the first major wildfire in the state caused by drug traffickers, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jim Turner said on Monday.

A joint statement issued Saturday night by the Santa Barbara County sheriff's office and the Forest Service said the blaze was sparked by a "cooking fire in a marijuana drug trafficking operation ... believed to be run by a Mexican national drug organization."

"Although the La Brea Fire started more than one week ago, there is evidence that the unburned marijuana garden area has been occupied within the last several days," the statement said.

Sheriff's spokesman Drew Sugars said investigators found tens of thousands of marijuana plants growing in the area. No arrests have been made.



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I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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